After the leak of the document that would propose legislation for unmanned aerial vehicles on Saturday, February 14 2015, the FAA held a press conference the following day, on a Sunday, before a federal holiday, to unveil their 195 page proposal for regulating commercial UAVs (click here to view the full 195-page PDF document) or here to view a 2-page summary.
In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or NPRM, the aircraft would be limited to 55 lbs and a maximum speed of 100mph, would requiere testing and stricly line of sight to fly the craft. Here’s a summary of the proposal, from the FAA PDF.
Operational Limitations Further Summarized
These proposed rules would not allow for automated flying, first person view and would severely limit the scope of what an unmanned aerial vehicle can do. Out the window goes package delivery, crop monitoring and anything else that involves mission planning. By limiting flight to strictly line of sight, the only potential uses I see are perhaps aerial photography and videography or perhaps lifting and delivering light weight equipment, on a construction site.
On a positive note, it would require the operator of a UAV to get certified, which would at least ensure that these remote pilots are qualified to fly their vehicles. It would also requiere pre-flight checks and markings. There is a 60 day period of public input, but that period hasn’t started yet, so expect more concrete regulations or at least steps, coming this spring.